GRAPHIC NOVELS

Kodi

Top Shelf. Aug. 2020. 176p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781603094672.
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Gr 3 Up–The gift of friendship comes in many forms, and here, it takes the immense, fuzzy form of a wounded Kodiak bear. After shy, bookish Katya encounters Kodi with a leg pinned under a fallen tree in the woods near her grandma’s Alaskan cabin and nurses him to health, the two become bonded for life. When Katya abruptly returns to Seattle, Kodi makes an epic journey to find his best friend. The bare bones of the story are familiar, but whimsical twists pull readers into Kodi’s quest quickly, even with the near certainty of a happy ending. Cullum’s rich watercolors, perfectly blended on rough textured paper, capture Alaskan wilderness and Seattle’s urban grit with equal beauty and accuracy. The relative sparseness of dialogue and narration makes this a great addition to the adorably anthropomorphic animal genre. It’s not always easy to communicate convincingly without dialogue, but our understanding of Kodi’s feelings, motives, and personality becomes richer as the story progresses.
VERDICT Beautifully crafted, thoughtfully paced, and sweet as can be, this tale is ideal for reluctant and voracious readers alike, to be savored and shared between friends young, old, and in between.

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